For every entrepreneur worth his salt, it is essential to have a strong presence online. SEO or search engine optimization as you knew it a couple of years back is now redundant. You have to take note of the fact that the SEO landscape is changing fast and you need to keeps to pace with in order to have a successful online strategy. Top search engines today are taking the hardliner approach, and there is no space for things such as keyword stuffing, poor quality of content, forced link building strategies and bad and flashy website designs. It is therefore quite clear today that what had worked for you in the past will no longer be of any use today.
If you want to have a strong connect with your customers online, you will have to embrace the new and ongoing trends in your SEO strategy. A successful SEO strategy today needs to incorporate a lot of components. These include building a mind space for your brand, integration with social media optimizing mobiles, and content marketing. If you do not adapt to the new ways of SEO, it could have a detrimental effect on your business prospects. In the following article, we will tell you about ten essentials you need to bear in mind while optimizing your website for search engines.
If you are still unaware of the current trends, now is the time to sit up and take note of these new realities. But before we tell you about how to optimize your website, let’s begin with a word or two about what exactly is SEO today and how you should be viewing it. SEO strategies should not be thought about as ways and means to cheat search engines. Instead, as an entrepreneur you should be concentrating on creating a seamless experience for users visiting your website and communicate you intentions in a manner that search engines feel compelled to recommend your content to relevant searches.
1. The fruit vs. fruit salad syndrome:
Let’s begin with a food analogy. All of us know that fruits are beneficial for our health, and we must consume them on a regular basis. But if you really like your crab laden plate and are just offered a couple of fruits instead what would you be more likely to pick up first? No prizes for guessing that! But wait a minute! What if we were to tell you that your plate will look like a riot of colors as we cut the same fruits into a nice and interesting fruit salad? Now which one will you be more interested in?
Of course the fruit salad, because not only does it look good but has immense health benefits too! That’s exactly how it works with your website. If you are just offering boring plate of fruits in your website, you will be ignored, but if you take the trouble of dressing it up and present it as a salad and convey your intention of having the best interests of your customers in mind, you are likely to score brownie points with the search engines.
2. Know your SEO goals:
As obvious as this may sound to you, you must first have the clarity about your business model and what it is that you want from your SEO strategy. You would reply saying that you want conversion into sales, but before that the definition of conversion should be quite clear to you.
Look at the video by Maile Ohye a developer at Google Webmasters explaining about how to create a SEO Strategy with the help of webmaster tools:
3. The changing face of content:
In 2013, the buzz was that SEO has been replaced by content marketing. Well, this is partially true. We would say that SEO has been “bettered” because of content marketing and this is a trend that is dominating 2014 as well. Content is indeed king when it comes to SEO today. As a brand you need to be savvy enough to create content that has a resonating impact on your audience. Content marketing is a trend that is here to stay and it is maturing with every passing day.
4. The launch of author rank:
Brand building should be top of your mind when you are building your SEO strategy. This has been proved by the launch of “Google authorship”. This is a program that connects the content to the profile of the author. The authors with recognized and relevant content are seen performing better in search engine results.
5. What are search engines looking for?
In this day and age when there is so much of confusion regarding SEO strategies, it is easy to get confused on what exactly are the demands of search engines today. You may have heard about the Hummingbird algorithm update from Google, but don’t quite know what it really is. Well, to put it simply, Google has come up with algorithms that will provide the sites that have content that is more relevant to the users and provides value to them. The following things will therefore determine the relevancy of your website:
- The experience for user: The key questions asked about user interface are, how easy is the website to navigate? Does it look safe enough to make transactions and of course how does it appeal visually. The performance of your site also matters. How fast and well your website work also matters to search engines.
- Compelling content:The one thing that is looked for by search engines when it comes to content is whether or not your site is good enough to link or do other websites are using your website link as a reference.
6.Things you should avoid with a barge pole:
If you want your website to be relevant, these are the things you should keep away from.
- Do not stuff your content with keywords. Overuse of keywords will hurt your content.
- Forget about using links that have been purchased. That is of no use today when it comes to SEO. For instance, for Google 18% or organic links go the number one position.
- You will have to pay a price if your offer a poor experience to your users. For instance putting too many ads on your page will add to the bounce rate.
7. Mobile strategy is a must:
When you think about SEO strategy today; it is no longer an option to think about mobile optimization. Thanks to the new Hummingbird update of Google it is becoming difficult for websites without a relevant mobile strategy to get a good ranking. Consider this, more than half of America uses smart phones and more than a third of the nation’s population has access to tablets. Your website design should therefore be responsive enough to give a great feel across a range of hand held devices. A good mobile content strategy should target the behaviors as well as needs of the mobile and tablet users.
8. Multi Channel approach:
Latest trends in search optimization validates the fact that search has become far more distributed. Therefore you SEO strategy is not only valid for your website you must have an inclusive strategy that includes other social media platforms as well. You need to be consistent with your keyword strategy across all these platforms in order to build a strong brand presence.
9. Don’t forget the Meta Data:
While working on the content for your web pages do include the Meta descriptions. Just make sure that your Meta descriptions are unique and remain relevant and specific to your page. Duplication of Meta descriptions will not be helpful though. Although Meta keywords are largely ignored by most search engines today, using them in a right way will still benefit your page.
10. Ditch the redundant SEO company:
When SEO became a big marketing trend a few years back there were too many of these companies that mushroomed nearly everywhere. But if you were to take a critical look at these companies you will find only a handful have been able to keep pace with the constant change that the industry has gone through. If you find yourself stuck with a company that still uses link building campaigns that are useless and gives you poor quality articles that are stuffed with keywords, you have to be ruthless and ditch them at once. If you must work with an SEO company, find one that is abreast with the latest trends in SEO and has the efficiency to be on top of things and will be able to pre-empt changes.
As you can see the SEO industry has gone through a sea change in just about a couple of years and is still in a state of flux. Google which owns nearly 70% of the search engine marketing share is making changes that are quite radical and if you do not keep pace with it, your search results may be impacted negatively in a short span of time.
When you are developing an SEO strategy for your business today, you have to keep in mind that it all adds up to two key things- balance and integration. If you already have and SEO strategy in place all you have to do is to customize it by identifying the gaps in your strategy and investing on the opportunities that there are for improvement. Keep these pointers in mind and good rankings on search engines are bound to follow!